double double, toil and trouble...
the firelight quivers with every rumble;
the old woman's hands stir up the pot;
the air is stale with the smell of rot--
one grimy onion, a few green roots,
the entrails of two butchered newts,
the bone of a codfish, nibbled raw
and the claws from an ancient wolf's paw
a pause is made, a short breath is drawn;
the smoke curls and she lets out a yawn;
although it does not yet touch her tongue,
the fumes of the brew still fill her lungs
the witch lies in bed, her glasses off
from deep in her throat, she draws a cough
the virus ricochets through her frame
like a bullet piercing with sickening aim
"your grandmother's ill; go bring her food"
are the words told to Red Riding Hood
while miles away, deep in the trees
her grandmother's form shifts a degree--
her breath is raspy; her skin is coarse,
every exhale is snarly and hoarse
the little girl stares, shocked and dismayed,
her former excitement beginning to fade...
"but Grandmother, your ears are so big"
she reaches to feel beneath the wig
"speak up my child, i can barely hear"
she speaks, straining her now-hairy ear
while the child grows exceedingly scared
the old woman at the mirror stares
"medicine, darling, please fetch me some--
for a wolf it seems i have become!"